The Herald (Harare)

15 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Constitution: Principals Issue Ultimatum

Photo: Parliament of Zimbabwe
Parliament of Zimbabwe

Principals to the Global Political Agreement have ordered the Cabinet committee charged with breaking the deadlock stalling the constitution-making process to submit its report to them tomorrow so that they can map the way forward.

This means the three principals in Government will now be driving the process.

There are chances that there could be a breakthrough soon following indications that Copac co-chairpersons had found common ground on five of the remaining six issues.

It is now up to the Cabinet committee to deliberate on the Copac co-chairpersons' recommendations. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was asked by the other principals to issue a statement on the matter yesterday, confirmed the development.

"On the constitution-making process, the leaders acknowledged the progress made by the special Cabinet committee, including the Copac co-chairpersons," said PM Tsvangirai.

"In this regard, the political leaders will be meeting on Thursday to receive a report from the committee. Meanwhile, the committee is expected to meet tomorrow, Tuesday, and if necessary on Wednesday to complete their work and submit a report to the political leaders."

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara concurred: "We emphasised that Wednesday is the Cabinet committee's deadline and beyond Wednesday their mandate is finished as the principals we will be taking over the process.

"We have made a decision as principals that the Cabinet committee should complete its work by Wednesday and submit the report. We are not going to extend the deadline," he said.

A member of the committee and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the development yesterday.

"They (principals) met today (yesterday) and directed that the Cabinet committee submits their report to them by Wednesday," said Minister Chinamasa. "The principals will then meet on Thursday to deliberate on that report. So in the meantime, the Cabinet committee has been instructed to finalise their deliberations by Wednesday."

Copac co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora recently said as co-chairpersons they reached consensus on devolution, national prosecuting authority, executive authority, national peace and reconciliation commission but failed to agree on the issue of running mates.

Minister Chinamasa said they were going to receive the Copac report today when they meet so that they could deliberate on it.

Meanwhile, PM Tsvangirai said together with President Mugabe and DPM Mutambara, discussed ways to solve the financial needs of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

He said the Ministry of Finance had made a commitment to immediately disburse US$2 million to ZEC as government intensifies efforts to mobilise additional resources.

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